Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Post flood flotsam and jetsam along the Black Hawk Creek.
Sunday I awoke late......very late! I had slept in since I arrived back home with my son so late at night from our adventure to Iowa Speedway. The family wanted to go do different things, so I was left to my own devices later in the afternoon. I needed a bicycle ride stat!

I grabbed the test Borealis rig and decided to plunk along the Green Belt to see how things had fared post flooding. The flood was a bad one, by all accounts, and the Black Hawk Creek in particular had risen very high before receding back into its banks late last week. I wasn't even sure I'd get back in there at all, but initially I was rather surprised to find it nearly dry and only a few odd logs and branches to show for the deep water's passage.

That changed though as I turned in on the creek itself. I found large log piles not navigable on a bike and I was dismounting about every 50 yards on average to crawl over, walk around, or circumnavigate a section to avoid the wreckage left behind. In between I found damp, wet spots, but really- there was little mud. Usually the mud is heinous back here after higher water events. There was sand bars a plenty! Those were easily dispatched by the 29+ wheels on the Borealis.

Not going any further here!
I had one tight spot where trees had been uprooted and branches were tangled in such a mess that I had to pass the bike over as I found another way to get over to the other side to retrieve it. That was compounded in difficulty by the swarms of hungry mosquitoes that were hounding my every move. As long as I kept moving, I was okay.

I decided to ditch cruising the creek and head over towards the lake to see if I could find some open trail stretches longer than I had been. I mean, cyclo cross is okay, but I wasn't in the mood, nor did I have the right bike! I finally reached the turn off, and I was looking good as I rode toward the lake and then......

Dead end! The West side of the lake had overtaken the trail and beyond. I ended up having to bushwhack my way through some tall grass only to find myself forced to make my way through someone's back yard to avoid the waters. I didn't like having to do that, but there seemed to be no harm, so no foul.......this time. Hopefully there isn't a "next time"!

I gave up! The water wins this time.
I tried then to see how far around the other way I could get and was stopped about a third of the way around. Dang! I do not remember this being so bad since 2008, and that was a really bad flood year. Seeing as how it is mid-July now, I don't see this getting any better for awhile, and of course, that depends on how much it decides to rain.

The one thing I did have fun with was the 29+ tires on the Borealis. They seemed to roll better than a full on fat bike set up but had that bushwhacking, roll over garbage effect that 3.8"ers do without the weight and inertia in steering. This set up feels like a 29"er on steroids, for lack of a better analogy, and as I am pursuing a similar set up for the titanium Mukluk, I feel it is going to be a really fun set up once I get that completed. In fact, it may become my favorite rig to date.

Whenever this B+ thing hits, I feel it will also be a similar deal as it is with 29+. Things are going to get real interesting come Fall, I bet, and I feel once something non-Surly becomes available in bikes, tires, and rims, a lot of folks will step up and find out this is the way to go for fun, adventurous mountain biking, bikepacking, and just general goofing around on bicycles. Don't get me wrong- fat bikes are really fun and capable, but I'm really digging the 29+ feel and I see a ton of potential here.

1 comment:

Angus150 said...

GT - the roll over ability of 29+ is amazing. I think B+ will improve the off road world for us all. But the 30.5 inch wheels of 29+ are exactly what really works. I hope our suppliers recognize this.